The Flame: May/June 2017
Dear Readers of The Flame,
Our walk with the Lord begins with a
prayer something like, “You are God and
I am not!” This prayer overturns our
tendency to run our lives. The Lord
knows what he is about. It is our task to
discover his ways and do his will. The
Lord is God and we are not!
In this year of Jubilee for the charismatic
renewal, I am taking some time to
ponder what God is doing in our time.
Her e ar e three aspec t s of the
charismatic renewal that I believe tie into
what God is doing.
The origins of this modern charismatic
renewal flow from the famed Duquesne
Weekend, February 17-19, 1967.
However, the real origins of this modern
renewal stretch to the turn of the
century. I wrote of some of these things
in my January/February letter: Blessed
Elena Guerra and her prayer crusade to
the Holy Spirit, Rev. Parham (a
Protestant minister) and the Topeka,
Kansas experience of speaking in
tongues, and Vatican II, which prayed
for a New Pentecost and described the
charisms in its documents.
These seeds of the modern charismatic
renewal tell us that God answers
intercessory prayers. The Lord works in
those who are open, both Catholic and
non-Catholic Christians. And our
response to what God is doing means
that we need to pray, love all Christians
and be completely Catholic at the same
The experience of the charismatic
renewal is both intense and authentic.
Though experiences vary when people
are prayed with for the baptism of the
Holy Spirit, these experiences are often
intense. They are l i fe changing.
Authenticity is revealed in two ways.
People bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit:
love, joy and peace. They also manifest a “love of truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10) -
the truth of our faith and of how to relate
to God, others and the world. People who
have this intense encounter with the Lord
most often do not seek out more intense
experiences of God. They simply seek
I believe this intense and authentic
experience of the power of the Holy Spirit
tells us that God wants us to experience
Himself. We need to be open to this. We
do not rashly seek experiences of God.
However, we do not write them off either.
We also need to foster a love of the truth
in our lives. God wants us to know the
truth because the truth will set us free.
The charisms (spiritual gifts) manifested
in this renewal are both powerful
and purposeful. The Lord heals the sick.
He speaks words of encouragement that
restore hope. The Lord guides us
supernaturally and rationally. He gives us
the wisdom and discernment to sort out
this guidance. The Lord gives us these
gifts for a purpose: to equip the Church to
fulfill its mission.
Our response to God’s initiative is to “strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual
gifts.” If we are going to go with the flow
of his plan, we need the power and gifts
of the Holy Spirit.
To sum up: we strive to fit in with what
God is doing. His work is within and
beyond the Catholic Church. (Could it be
he is making us the answer to Christ’s
prayer - that they may all be one - John
17:21?) The Lord wants us to experience
him and his truth, living in the power and
charisms of the Holy Spirit in order to
fulfill the mission Jesus Christ left us.
( Matthew 28:19-20- make disciples!!! )
Is the charismatic renewal the whole
of God’s plan? No. God’s plan is
revealed in Jesus Christ through the
Church. It includes: doctrine, sacraments,
saints, movements, institutions,
apparitions, care for the needy, a call to
social justice and much more. However,
without charismatic renewal the
Church would sorely be lacking. The
power and gifts of the Holy Spirit equip
the Church to evangelize. They also give
us another avenue to seek unity.
As I end this reflection, I want to warmly
invite you to our annual Pentecost Mass.
This year Ss. Cosmas and Damian
Parish (Twinsburg, OH) will host the
Mass at 2:00 PM on Sunday, June 4th.
Healing prayer and refreshments will
follow. I also invite you to the Diocese of
Cleveland 35th Annual Charismatic
Conference aptly entitled, Fount of Life,
Fire of Love, July 14-15 at Magnificat
High School. Please see the brochure in
this issue of the Flame. Both the
Pentecost Mass and Conference will
refresh you and reignite the flame of the
Spirit in your life.
This treasure called the charismatic
renewal is a gift of God for our trying and
confusing times. The Lord is God! Let us
fit into what God is doing.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Bob Franco
Bishop’s Delegate to Catholic Renewal Ministries